The Economic Fighters League (EFL) has become the latest body to join calls on the government to back down on its planned taxation of electronic transactions from January 1, 2022 as contained in the 2022 Budget Statement.
At a press conference at its Awoshie office on Monday, November 22, the EFL said large portions of the budget, particularly the introduction of the e-levy, were rejected in entirety having described it as being “regressive and criminally insensitive”.
Describing the levy as characteristic of insensitive governments, the Fighters said “the government could have put their levy on the charges already placed on mobile money transactions by the telecoms companies and ensure that they do not pass on such levies to the consumer”.
The Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced the introduction of the levy last Wednesday, November 17, 2021, during the presentation of the 2022 Budget to Parliament on behalf of President Nana Akufo-Addo.
“It is becoming clear there exists enormous potential to increase tax revenues by bringing into the tax bracket, transactions that could be best defined as being undertaken in the ‘informal economy’,” the Finance Minister said.
“After considerable deliberations, the government has decided to place a levy on all electronic transactions to widen the tax net and rope in the informal sector. This shall be known as the Electronic Transaction Levy or E-Levy,” he added.
The Minister explained that the new E-levy will be a 1.75 percent charge on all electronic transactions covering mobile money payments, bank transfers, merchant payments and inward remittances to be borne by the sender except inward remittances, which will be borne by the recipient.
The Fighters did not only reject the budget statement but also admonished the government to as a matter of urgency drop the budget and abolish ex-gratia as currently enjoyed by Article 71 Office Holders to save the nation the money needed to develop.
The movement also intimated that the salary structure of Article 71 Office Holders is “excessive”, “discriminatory” and “a huge drain on the public purse permitted and granted by a flawed Constitution which has outlived its essence and needs urgent replacement”.
“One of the biggest crimes perpetrated on the people by the 1992 Sakawa Constitution is the issue of excessive and discriminatory pay structure in favour of the so-called article 71 office holders.
“Clearly, as the figures have shown, Article 71 officers are a huge drain on the public purse. It is a curse imposed on us by the 1992 Sakawa Constitution.”
By Kabah Atawoge|Accra|Ghana